The first of these processes is forging out the blade. For those of you who aren't familiar with this, it is taking a "bar" or "round" of steel and heating it to a particular temperature. Then the heated steel is pounded with a power hammer or by hand to create the blade shape profile as well as the edge bevels.
The next step is the first phase in the heat treating process. This phase is normalizing and consists of refining the grain structure of the steel by heating it in the forge and allowing it to cool three separate times.
After normalizing the blade is roughly ground to a 220 grit finish. Then the heat treating process begins. The steel that is used is not "Leaf-spring" or scrap metal.
The steel that is used is new, from the manufacturer, and of the highest quality. The alloy content is known and heat treat is specific for each type of steel. The steel is then placed in a digitally controlled heat-treat oven and brought to the exact temperature to create austenite and then allowed to soak. It is then quenched in its specific medium, whether it be water or oil. Immediately after quenching the blade goes into a tempering oven. These heat treat temperatures as well at the tempering temperatures are those recommended by the manufacturer.
From here the process can go in many directions. From press fit guards to file-worked frames and fluted handles, the imagination is the only limitation.